Ayala, Who Would Be First Woman and First Afro-Latina to Hold This Position, Shared Her Vision to Bridge Divides and Move Virginia Forward
WOODBRIDGE, VA — Delegate Hala Ayala today announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, sharing her vision for the future of the Commonwealth and how her life experience has informed her bridge-building approach.
“There’s a whirlwind happening, and in a Commonwealth as vast and diverse as ours, we can’t make progress or heal discord without bridging divides — between our communities and our leaders, between our ideals and our realities, and between our past and where we’re going,” said Ayala. “I’m running for Lieutenant Governor because I believe my life experiences enable me to be a bridge builder so we can move Virginia forward into a strong, just, and prosperous future. I think that’s what our families want — someone who understands their experiences and can bring people together to make progress in their day-to-day lives.”
Ayala embodies the bridge between Virginia’s past and its future, as well as the bridge between struggle and success that many Virginia families face. She is a lifelong Virginia resident and the daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and an Irish and Lebanese mother — meaning she would be the first woman and first woman of color to serve as Lieutenant Governor in Virginia’s 400-year history.
Growing up, her family was on the knife’s edge, struggling to make ends meet. When her first child was born, she worked at a gas station and had no health insurance. With just a few college credits and a government certification training, Ayala went on to build a career as a single working mom of two in one of the sectors leading Virginia’s economy into the future. For over 20 years, she has worked in national security as a cyber specialist under the Department of Homeland Security, protecting our nation’s information systems from attacks, both at home and abroad.
From a career in public service, to a leader in the local PTA and Democratic Party, to spearheading statewide women’s advocacy, Ayala has long worked to bring people together to make progress.
In 2017, she helped organize Virginia to be part of the first Women’s March in Washington. Inspired by her experience, Ayala ran for Virginia’s 51st House District and won against a four-term Republican incumbent. She then made good on what she promised, working with both parties to lead the effort to expand Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians and pass the Equal Rights Amendment to help enshrine women’s equality into the U.S. Constitution. As someone who lost her father to gun violence when she was just two years old, she also worked to expand background checks to keep guns out of dangerous hands.
Ayala’s campaign will focus on building a strong future for Virginia families, from ensuring the Commonwealth weathers the COVID pandemic and is ready for the next crisis with a healthcare system and an inclusive economy that works for every family, to investing in our communities and our infrastructure to support quality, high-paying jobs, to deploying technology to make our government better serve the people, to ensuring equity, justice, and opportunity regardless of race, class, gender, or sexual orientation.
Learn more about Ayala here.
What Virginians Are Saying About Hala Ayala
Leaders across the Commonwealth are supporting Ayala’s campaign.
“Hala’s been a reliable partner, confidant and a true, genuine sister whose friendship and leadership I value so much in Richmond and Prince William County,” said Delegate Danica Roem. “Del. Ayala’s values are rooted in her experience of overcoming struggles and hardships, which inform her incredible sense of empathy and compassion. I’ve seen Del. Ayala’s relentless hustle on the doors during the 2017 and 2019 campaigns. I’ve seen her heart on display on the floor of the House of Delegates. Delegate Ayala loves Virginia. I’m proud to endorse Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.”
“Having worked with Hala, I know she has a servant’s heart,” said Delegate Clint Jenkins. “A proven leader whose contributions extend to the fabric of our nation, its security and prosperity, she knows where we’re going and how to get us there.”
“Our country and our Commonwealth face so much division and divisiveness, and we need leaders who understand that and are actively working to address it,” said Prince William County NAACP President Rev. Cozy Bailey. “Hala is the bridge builder who can bring together our communities and bring about real, lasting, and meaningful change.”
The Hala for Virginia campaign will be announcing more endorsements from across Virginia in the coming days.
Learn more at HalaForVirginia.com.